Synergistic effect of metronomic dosing of cyclophosphamide combined with specific antitumor immunotherapy in a murine melanoma model.
Hermans IF., Chong TW., Palmowski MJ., Harris AL., Cerundolo V.
Immunotherapy could be combined with conventional chemotherapeutic modalities aimed at reducing tumor burden. Such combination therapy may be most useful when "metronomic" doses of antineoplastic drugs are used, thereby potentially avoiding some of the immunosuppressive effects of these drugs. Recent studies have shown that some conventional antineoplastic drugs can be exploited for antiangiogenic capacities, a strategy that requires drugs to be administered at regular intervals. We therefore investigated whether such metronomic therapy with the alkylating agent cyclophosphamide (CTX) could be effectively combined with immunotherapy eliciting tumor-reactive CTLs. An immunization protocol using injection of recombinant DNA followed by injection of recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara strain was used to initiate a specific CTL response in mice capable of providing resistance to challenge with the murine melanoma B16.F10. Combining this immunotherapeutic regime with metronomic delivery of CTX resulted in antitumor activity that was dramatically enhanced over either treatment administered alone and was also significantly greater than combining immunotherapy with CTX administered by a maximum tolerated dose regime. Whereas both metronomic and maximum tolerated dose delivery of CTX did cause deletion of proliferating tumor-specific CTLs in the blood, this deletion occurred with slower kinetics with the metronomic schedule. Further analysis showed that metronomic CTX treatment did not delete cells with low expression of CD43, a "memory" phenotype, and that these cells maintained potent restimulatory capacity. The combination of immunotherapy and metronomic CTX therapy may be well suited to clinical management of cancer.